Photography via Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
Watching the oil spill unfold in the Gulf has been devastating to witness. And “devastating” is even an understatement — from the ubiquitous photographs of oiled pelicans to the recent news that the amount of oil flooding the gulf is actually far more than we were told, meaning that the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez disaster has been spewing into the ocean every 4 to 6 days
— there are simply no words capable of expressing the dismay and anger that we all feel as witnesses to this horrific level of environmental destruction. Bill McKibben, who we interviewed
recently about his new book, has eloquently written
about the wider ramifications we’ve missed in our coverage of the spill. We urge you to take a look.
While many of us live far from the coasts of Louisiana and Florida, where the oil is literally lapping at the shores, we can each offer what we are able in the form of monetary donations. For those readers in the area, or with access to it, there are also many organizations looking for volunteers. For all of us who feel the urge to do something — anything — to help, what follows is a list of non-profit organizations that we recommend donating to, or volunteering for:
The National Wildlife Federation is accepting donations
to help them save the more than 400 species of animals threatened by the spill, as well as looking for volunteers
to observe the coast for signs of oil and injured wildlife. The Audobon Nature Institute
is accepting donations to fund their triage units which treat marine animals such as otters and sea turtles. The Mobile Baykeeper
is an Alabama-based organization currently devoting their efforts to the gravely threatened coast.
Think of everything you know about global warming. Think, especially, of the sense you might have that there are twenty, thirty, fifty years left before the Earth’s levels of climate change become truly catastrophic. Now, think again. We’re already there, says Bill McKibben in Eaarth (Times Books, $24.00), an eloquent and passionate call to action. In fact, says McKibben, we’ve changed our planet so much that we can no longer think of it as Earth: now it’s Eaarth, a place of melting ice caps, expanding tropics, and increasingly dramatic “weather events”. And we have to learn to live there.
McKibben should know what he’s talking about. A leading journalist and environmental activist, he’s been writing on this subject for more than twenty years. In 1989, his The End of Nature was the first book on global warming for a general audience. In the past two years, his nonprofit 350.org has mobilized millions of people across the world to combat climate change.
In Eaarth, he makes no bones about how serious the situation has become. We’ve already raised the temperature of the planet by one degree Celcius, he writes; as a result, the Arctic ice cap is 1.1 million square miles smaller, and (since warmer air holds more water vapor) global rainfall is increasing by 1.5 percent a decade. But this isn’t just a book full of dry statistics. McKibben is expert at explaining, lucidly and frankly, just what the numbers mean, and what we can do about them. “Forget the grandkids,” he writes. “It turns out this was a problem for our parents.”
Photography by Derek Peck
From my regular column in AnOther magazine
This week in New York City is a busy one for Irina Lazareanu. Her birthday was on Tuesday, and today she hosts a star-studded benefit – something she pretty much threw together on the fly. It’s a release event for Corduroy magazine and a benefit for Kiva.org, a charity that provides micro-loans around the world to help alleviate poverty. Although the logistics were handled by event organisers, you can credit Irina for the main attractions. Can you imagine Pete Doherty and Sean Lennon jamming together on the same stage? Well, Irina can – and she can also call them both up and tell them to start rehearsing. They did so by emailing practice sessions back and forth across the Atlantic. However, getting Pete himself across the ocean proved more challenging. “I think the hardest thing was getting Pete’s visa,” Irina says. “When they asked if he’d ever had any infractions, we had to answer, ‘um, well, yeah, like 27.’” Apparently, it’s harder for Pete Doherty to get into this country than most would-be terrorists, even though he’s only ever veered toward self-destruction, not mass-destruction. But that’s a whole other matter best left to the tabloids. Besides, Irina succeeded at getting him in. So it’s all set for Thursday, the hottest ticket in town.
Bernadette Records/Armstrong Beck (Click Images to Enlarge)
Angela McCluskey’s mother promised her that one day she would look like a Christmas tree. And she does. Depending on when you catch her and what your mood is, McCluskey could be a haphazardly-but-enthusiastically-decorated-by-the-kids tree. Or she could be a candle-lit, comfort-bringing, anticipation-ridden, pine-scented tree. Most of the time, McCluskey is both.
It is this combination that attracts young and old, famous and infamous, rich and poor to McCluskey’s side. At her 17th anniversary party with husband Paul Cantelon, McCluskey’s home is bursting. The cross-section of guests represent the Los Angeles melting pot, which one rarely sees gathered in the same place. Star-studded, but not glittering, McCluskey has a way of humanizing everyone that comes into contact with her. There is no distinction between McCluskey’s goddaughter, Riley Keough — Elvis’ granddaughter — or Alison Owen, the mother of McCluskey’s other goddaughter, Lily Allen.
McCluskey brings the notable and the obscure together, breaking down the reserve of the former and bringing up the assurance of the latter. Within her inner circle, which McCluskey calls the “Ring Of Fire”, there is a core of seven girls who serve as each other’s security blankets.
Buy this at iTunes.
Film and Photography courtesy of Malcolm Murray.
In an era in which advertising presents itself to us in almost every form of media possible, it seems billboards have to contain something special in order to make us look up. Enter the Ritual Project, an exploration of the dwindling hand-painted billboard trade, and Up There
, a short documentary that explores the painstaking execution of a hand-painted 20×50-foot billboard in New York City.
is a testament to the dying art of hand-painted advertisements. “We’re in the vast minority”, says one painter, “Just about everything is done on vinyl, which is printed”. The painters are not interested in instant gratification — evidenced by their completion of a requisite two-year apprenticeship before even being allowed to put paintbrush to brick. The work is both artistically challenging and physically grueling; industry veterans show off warped knuckles resulting from decades of braving the elements. “It takes so much work that it’s kind of ridiculous”, one painter admits. But compared to the pixelated gloss of the more popular vinyl ads, the rich colors that emerge from their own painstaking process make the result well worth the effort. As one artist notes, “It’s the same way Michelangelo did the Sistine Chapel”.
Watch the full documentary after the jump.
Trailer and stills courtesy of Swiss Dots (Click image to enlarge)
A blonde woman struggles to keep an oily black liquid from oozing through flowery wallpaper. A mumbling man washes what seem to be giant eggs in a stream. A family camping out and roasting marshmallows on an open fire somehow segues into a moment of demonic possession and an orgiastic food fight. And alien beings perform some mysterious fire ceremony, amid tribal drums and other rhythmic weirdness, before flashing to audio/visual noise that certainly could induce seizures in the more epileptically vulnerable.
Animal Collective, the ever prolific group hailing from Baltimore, have followed up last year’s acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavilion
and Fall Be Kind
with this “visual album”, a collaboration with Philadelphia filmmaker Danny Perez that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and has been touring the world in one-off screenings. The 54-minute film marks the culmination of four years of “an open-ended operation of audio-video synthesis”, said Perez, who previously helmed concert films for Black Dice and Panda Bear, “the passing back and forth of visuals and sound so that each would inform the other and create an organic structure.”
Photography and Film courtesy of NEOZOON
, a street art collective based in Paris and Berlin, forces us to confront the ways in which we relate to animals. The group’s initial project was to take discarded fur coats and cut them into animal shapes, which it pasted to city surfaces. The artwork was often site-specific. In Berlin, for example, the coats were recycled to look like bears, because of the city’s official mascot and the two bears who live in a small enclosure for public viewing in the middle of the city. The fur coat animals force the realization that the pelts were once the skins of living animals, and thus provoke consideration of the public’s celebration and simultaneous exploitation of the captive creatures. In Paris, the collective created a flock of fur-coat lambs that innocently meandered its way across city walls toward Parc de la Villette, which was the site of some of the largest slaughterhouses in 19th-century Europe.
The latest project by NEOZOON is the non-toed fur-coatie: Pellicusia Urbana. Continuing the collective’s exploration of public attitudes toward captive animals, the non-toed fur-coaties are upcycled fur coats stuffed with moving machinery that creates an effect eerily similar to that of a living, breathing animal. Zoos in the German cities of Münster and Magdeberg have populated a few of their cages with the fur-coaties, complete with signs and descriptions. The fake creatures have also been spotted in public parks and playgrounds throughout Berlin.
The Global Peace Initiative will be unveiling its second Peace Monument in the city of Liverpool, UK, on October 9, 2010. This monument has special significance on numerous levels. The location is chosen specifically as the place where John Lennon’s spirit was born. Its unveiling will occur on the day of Lennon’s birth, when he would have turned 70. It also coincides with the start of a two-month-long citywide festival celebrating Lennon and his spirit. The festival ends on December 9, 2010, 30 years, to the day, after Lennon’s assassination. (December 8, 1980 if you were stateside, December 9, 1980 if you were in Europe.)
The vision of venerable art aficionado Ben Valenty, the California-based Global Peace Initiative was launched in 2003. The idea is to create seven monuments, one for each continent. The first, in Asia, was erected in Singapore in 2005. For the European installment, Valenty discovered and subsequently commissioned 19-year-old art prodigy Lauren Voiers of Ohio. Specializing in surrealist and cubist styles using oils, Voiers started by creating renderings of the monument. These renderings are transferred to three-dimensional representations and created in pieces. Voiers will then be hand-painting the 18-foot structure, which she has titled Peace and Harmony.
Photography courtesy of EMI
Everything about Massive Attack feels contradictory. The core members, Robert “3D” Del Naja and Grant “Daddy G” Marshall, are polar opposites. The former: diminutive, fair, pointy, reserved yet articulate. The latter: oversized, dark, rounded, affable yet hesitant. Not since the collective’s second album, 1994’s Protection, have these two made music in the same room.
Starting as a reggae sound system collective, the Wild Bunch, they represented an array of cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, and traditions. This array drove the collective and gave birth to Massive Attack and the inimitable flavor it had — and has. “We were literally white straight through to black,” says Marshall amidst babysitting his three children in his Bristol, England, home as he placates them with a DVD of Up. “We spread from Italian culture through Spanish roots to Black culture. Coming from all walks of life, it was funny to have us all in one group.”
What has been heard since Protection — on albums like Mezzanine (1998), 100th Window (2003), and their latest Heglioland — is the individual members working on their own, then bringing their ideas to each other, ready for a face-off. More often than not, it is Del Naja’s vision that bullies itself to the forefront. On 100th Window — which should have been billed as Del Naja’s solo album — there was no input from Marshall, and erstwhile third member, Andrew “Mushroom” Vowles, who had since departed.